soc 101 13

1. Human nature is the set of basic functions and motives shared by all humans. These facets of humanity include the desire for food, water, shelter, and reproduction. No matter the culture or location of the person, these needs will be an important part of the decisions the person makes for survival. Most behaviors then are not part of basic human nature, but instead are gained from interaction with other humans and structures in society. “The people who argue that ‘you can’t change human nature’ make the mistake of assuming that because man behaves a certain way in … society, therefore that’s the nature of human beings, and no other behavior is possible” (1); other behavior, however, is possible depending on the society a person is socialized in. For example, many Western societies emphasize the importance of the individual’s independence in the society, while some Eastern societies place value on community and familial bonds. Whether a person was raised in a Western or Eastern society can influence the way that person behaves on a larger social scale. In a capitalist society, competitiveness is often valued, which in turn affects the way people go about satisfying their basic human needs (food, water, shelter). On the other hand, a socialist society may put greater value on cooperation and sharing of resources. In this example, behavior determined by the socialization of a person affects the way that person goes about achieving the basic needs that are part of human nature. In both cases, human nature remains the same, but the behavior the person uses to satisfy needs is different as a result of different socialization. Other aspects of a person’s life can also vary depending on socialization, including social rituals such as weddings and funerals, interpersonal relationships, and social structures such as families and schools.


2. What do you think human nature is?  Include all the different aspects you think are important?  If something is not part of human nature, but is part of behavior, where does it come from? Human nature is the behaviors or habits all humans naturally do or not do that are not influenced or taught by the culture we grew up in. There are many aspects of human nature, the most important ones are self-preservation this includes creating shelter to live in to stay out of the elements, procreation, and communication. Out of these three I believe self-preservation is the most important. In the beginning of civilization people were forced to fend for themselves so creating a shelter to live in to stay out of the elements, creating weapons to protect yourself and family from predators, etc… were paramount to survival. Without this trait we would not care whether we lived or died, and we would cease to exist. This is followed closely by procreation, which also plays a huge part in weather we as humans continue to exist.  And lastly communication, Humans need to communicate whether that’s in a verbal or non-verbal form in order to survive, without communication we would continue to make the same mistakes over and over again and never advance. These aspects are the basic building blocks for society, whether that’s as small as a tribe or as big as a country without these three humans would cease to exist. There are also the smaller aspects of human nature which include but are not limited to, greed, envy, and aggression. These behaviors that we are preprogramed with, each in different degrees that we have to consciously resists at times. The society we grow up in does play a part on whether we conceal these traits or show them. For example, the United States has a very individualistic, we generally speak our mind and show our emotions, so these traits are not really concealed. No matter where or how you were raised we all  to some degree have these traits. Some of the behaviors or habits we do can be labeled aspects of human nature but are not. These are often called second natures, they are the things we do every day but can’t explain how, when, or why we were taught them. For example communication is human nature but the language you speak is taught by the people or society you grew up in. So language is a second nature or behavior.


3. What do I think human nature is?  The book describes human nature as being culture and society. While there are a couple of my classmates who believe that human nature, is the need to find food, shelter, water and procreate. I believe those characteristics to be part of human nature but they do not complete the full definition of human nature. My classmates would also believe that those four characteristics are all that play a role in human nature and leave no room for expansion. I would have to strongly disagree with their conclusion the book clearly states that culture and society defines human nature. Are my classmates wrong in believing these four characteristics define human nature? No. They are not. For I believe these four characteristics define all human nature or can be considered the blue print, but like all living things we to as human’s eventually evolve and what use to be or could be considered human nature has greatly expand. For intense if I was Japanese, raised in Japan then I would have the four basic characteristic of human nature and an expansion of many more language being one of them. I read in one of the DQ response that language is considered second nature because it was taught to use later. My question is how can our native language be second nature if it’s the only way we know how to communicate? Now if I were Japanese and learned to speak English then I would consider English to be second nature. My point is there are billions on people on this earth and millions of different societies we all have the same basic needs but it’s the society we grow up in and the cultural education we get that help maximize and evolve what we call human nature. I also believe every small aspect plays a role in human nature weather I was born in American, Iraq or China or speak a certain language or believe in a certain religion all these aspects play into human nature and every culture will be different. I also believe behavior is part of human nature. Yes your behavior normally derives from emotion be we learn emotion and expressions from our parents and those that are around us in other words our culture. So while we have multiple names for everything around us whether it is language, emotion, behavior or religion it all boils down to human nature.



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